The Botanist plants itself firmly in Singapore


Brand owner Rémy Cointreau moves to directly take its gin The Botanist official and grow it in Singapore.

Over the past few years as the Singapore cocktail scene grew The Botanist gin – despite its relative underdog status in this market – like a vine slowly but steadily grew its tendrils here, appearing on the back shelves in bespoke bars and even creeping into various special Negronis presented during Negroni Week earlier this year.

The 22 hand-foraged and locally-sourced ingredients that go into The Botanist are: Apple mint, chamomile, creeping thistle, downy birch, elder, gorse, hawthorn, heather, juniper, lady’s bedstraw, lemon balm, meadowsweet, mugwort, red clover, spearmint, sweet cicely, bog myrtle, tansy, water mint, white clover, wild thyme, and wood sage.

Perhaps that unspoken interest in The Botanist is due to its Hebridean origins – it is, after all, the one and only gin distilled on Scotland’s Islay, far better known for producing some of the world’s smokiest and peatiest Scotch whiskies than any else. But Bruichladdich, one of the eight whisky distilleries located on Islay, considers itself to be among the more progressive of the lot. It converted one of its Lomond still – a pot and column hybrid still – called Ugly Betty for the production of gin, sourcing the classic gin botanicals such as juniper berries from around the world, but also incorporates a whopping 22 different botanicals hand-foraged on Islay itself. Which, of course, lends itself to its name.

That natural bounty on Islay helps to produce a gin of extraordinary complexity. There’s a bouquet reminiscent of running across open fields in summer, or a herb garden in full bloom; the palate is that of a carefully groomed orchard, providing strong citrus with a heavy dose of spice.

Bruichladdich master distiller Jim McEwan – who recently retired but is still involved with the workings of the distillery – initially shocked many whisky traditionalists when he moved to making gin as well, but it is hard to argue with the results. “We believe in innovation and progress, in constantly striving to produce a spirit with integrity and provenance. A spirit to put a smile on your face wherever you are, and to help you close your eyes and quietly dream of Islay,” McEwan had said.

The Botanist can be experienced in Singapore at various cocktail bars such as The Spiffy Dapper, Nutmeg & Clove, and Jigger & Pony; it can also be bought online at 75cl.sg, hth-liquor.com, tuckshop.sg and barworks.com.sg.